Years of Friendship
Loyalty • Respect • Trust
Dad and Stanley are engrossed in conversation, and I am reading nearby. They are in their world, and I am in mine. I glance up to see if either would like something, but neither notices, and I prefer not to disturb their whispers. Seeing them clasping hands is endearing, and I feel fortunate to capture this perfect moment in time. Since Dad and Stanley have been close friends for many years, I don't remember life without Stanley. He often referred to me as 22: my basketball number when I played for B'nai Jacob Synagogue. We were a small team; however, a winning team and Stanley was our coach. Understandably he holds a special place in my heart.
I loved evenings with Dad and Stanley. I would often join them in conversation; however, this evening, I prefer to read as they reminisce. Gradually Dad evolves into his stage presence - one I know well. I focus my attention on him as he recites a poem he wrote while on a cruise with their wives and several other couples.
As I sailed on the Alaskan Sea
A humpback whale looked up at me
And from a most mysterious place
Spouted water in my face.
A salmon ninety inches long
Curtly said he thought it wrong
For me or anyone to be
Sailing on his private sea.
A porpoise jumped up in the air
And fixed me with a stony stare
As if to say it wasn't fair
For me to thus invade his lair.
A great bald eagle flying by
Stopped and looked me in the eye
Then slowly turned and flew away
To his home in Glacier Bay.
An iceberg slid serenely past
And never even stopped or asked
"How goes it with you on the ship?"
Or "Have you had a pleasant trip?"
And then I looked about again
And wondered how or where or when
I'd ever see such wondrous sights
As these Alaskan days and nights.
Stanley asks for a copy of the poem, and Dad slides an envelope across the table. Taking out the paper, I hear: "seven eighty-seven, yes July 1987, I remember it well. Why did you not sign it?" Dad takes a pen and scribbles - Bob.
Robert Harris Levine July 23, 1923 - June 5, 2011
Stanley Marvin Rubin August 26, 1926 - December 25, 2005